Letters as Loot

A sociolinguistic approach to seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Dutch

ORCID logoGijsbert Rutten | Leiden University
ORCID logoMarijke J. van der Wal | Leiden University
ISBN 9789027200815 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
e-Book Open Access
ISBN 9789027269577
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The study of letter writing is at the heart of the historical-sociolinguistic enterprise. Private letters, in particular, offer an unprecedented view on language history. This book presents an in-depth study of the language of letters focussing on a unique collection of Dutch private letters from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which comprises letters from the lower, middle and upper ranks, written by men as well as women.

The book discusses the key issues of formulaic language and the degree of orality of private letters, it questions the importance of letter-writing manuals, and reveals remarkable patterns of social, regional and gender variation in a wide range of linguistic features. Arguing for writing experience as an important factor in historical linguistics generally, the book offers numerous new perspectives on the history of Dutch.

The monograph is of interest to a wide readership, ranging from scholars of historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, Germanic linguistics, sociology and social history to (advanced) graduate and postgraduate students in courses on language variation and change.

[Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics, 2] 2014.  xiii, 426 pp.
Publishing status: Available

For any use beyond this license, please contact the publisher at rights@benjamins.nl.

Table of Contents
“This book makes an original and worthwhile contribution to the study of the development of language in a social and historical context. The analyses are undertaken with exemplary thoroughness, presented with copious detail and compared with studies in other European languages.”
“Drawing on unique source material and presenting detailed case studies of a variety of features from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Dutch, this well-written and important study of private letters from writers of all social classes and different geographical backgrounds offers an entirely new perspective on the history of Dutch.”
“[A] rich, nuanced and substantial contribution to the history of Dutch, and the field of historical sociolinguistics more generally. As a text, it works as a reference monograph; of interest to researchers of specific changes in the Dutch language, but also for scholars of other languages or periods seeking guidance on methodological approach, or a theoretical model. [...] The book is a testament to a treasure trove of letters, newly discovered, that offer a richness of descriptive and interpretative sociolinguistic insights.”
“The Letters as Loot project has done wonderful work in creating this rich sociolinguistic corpus. The authors have made the most of their dataset with their selection of research topics, and sociolinguistic research in other languages is often referred to. The attention to detail and the meticulousness of research throughout this excellent book are truly impressive, and the analysis is highly satisfying in its step-by-step pursuit for an overarching synthesis. [...] As a historical sociolinguist whose field is eighteenth-century English, I will certainly revisit and make use of the findings presented here.”

Main BIC Subject

CFF: Historical & comparative linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2014023573